Reginald Barnes

Major-General Sir Reginald Walter Ralph Barnes KCB DSO DL JP (13 April 1871 – 19 December 1946) was a cavalry officer in the British Army. He served in several regiments, and commanded a battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry, the 10th (Prince of Wales's Own) Royal Hussars, the 111th Brigade, and three divisions.

Reginald Walter Ralph Barnes

Born13 April 1871
Stoke Canon, Devon
Died9 December 1946 (aged 75)
Honiton, Devon
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service1890–1921
UnitKing's Shropshire Light Infantry
4th (Queen's Own) Hussars
Imperial Light Horse
17th Imperial Yeomanry
2nd Imperial Yeomanry
17th (Duke of Cambridge's Own) Lancers
10th (Prince of Wales's Own) Royal Hussars
Commands held2nd Imperial Yeomanry
10th (Prince of Wales's Own) Royal Hussars
116th Brigade
32nd Division
57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division
West London Division
Battles/warsCuban War of Independence

Second Boer War

First World War

AwardsCompanion of the Distinguished Service Order
Knight Commander of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath
Croix de Guerre
Other workDeputy Lieutenant
Justice of the Peace

During his career he served in the Cuban War of Independence, the Second Boer War and the First World War. Becoming a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, and a Knight Commander of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath. He was also awarded a French Croix de Guerre.


Early lifeEdit

Reginald Walter Ralph Barnes was born 13 April 1871, at Stoke Canon Exeter, the son of Prenbendary R H Barnes. He was educated at Westminster School, before in December 1888, becoming a second-lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry, at the time part of the militia.[1][2] He was promoted to lieutenant in September 1889.[3] Then in December 1890 he transferred to the regular army, dropping down a rank to second-lieutenant, when he joined the 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars.[4] He regained his substantive rank of lieutenant in May 1893.[5] In 1894 and again in 1895 Barnes was one of a cabal of subalterns who harassed fellow junior officers into leaving the regiment because they were perceived as not meeting its social or other standards.[6]

Cuban War of Independence and IndiaEdit

His first experience of war came in November 1895, when he was attached as an observer of guerrilla warfare to the Spanish Army during the Cuban War of Independence, together with his fellow 4th Hussars officer, a twenty-one-year-old Winston Churchill. Churchill was an accredited journalist for the London Daily Graphic newspaper, sending them dispatches from the front. But both officers were also under orders from Colonel Edward Chapman, the British Director of Military Intelligence to "collect information and statistics on various points and particularly as to the effect of the new bullet its penetration and striking power".[7][8] Returning to England Barnes became the regimental adjutant, from May 1896 for the next four years.[9][10] The regiment was stationed in British India in late 1896 and Barnes shared a bungalow with Churchill in Bangalore.

Second Boer WarEdit

In 1899, Barnes was seconded as adjutant to the Imperial Light Horse in South-Africa,[11] and on 31 December 1899 he was promoted to Captain.[12] He was present at the Battle of Elandslaagte in October 1899, and in February 1900 at the Battle of the Tugela Heights, which was part of the relief of Ladysmith. That was followed by the relief of Mafeking, in May and June 1900. Next were operations in the Transvaal around Pretoria, and the battle of Belfast in August.[1] His participation in the war was recognised by being created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).[13]

As the nature of the war changed into one of attrition, in May 1901, he became a local major and second in command of the 17th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry.[14] Only two months later, in July 1901,[15] he was promoted to temporary lieutenant-colonel and commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion Imperial Yeomanry, serving as such until March 1902,[16] when he returned to an ordinary posting in his regiment.[17] He returned to the United Kingdom by the steamship Kildonan Castle the same month.[18] As well as his DSO, Barnes was also mentioned in dispatches for his service in South Africa.[19]

Between warsEdit

In the post Boer War period, Barnes carried out several non-regimental staff duties. On 1 May 1904, he became the Aide de Camp to General The Viscount Kitchener in his position as Commander-in-Chief, India, until January 1906.[1][20] He then became an instructor at the Cavalry School, until December 1907, when he was promoted to major and transferred to the 17th (Duke of Cambridge's Own) Lancers.[21] He remained with his new regiment until October 1909 and was the employed by as the Assistant Military Secretary to the Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Malta Leslie Rundle.[22][23] That posting lasted until February 1911, when he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and given command of the 10th (Prince of Wales's Own) Royal Hussars.[24]

First World WarEdit

On the outbreak of war the 10th Hussars were stationed in South Africa.[25] The regiment sailed for Britain arriving 22 September 1914 and were assigned to the 6th Cavalry Brigade.[26] They then travelled to the Western Front as part of the 3rd Cavalry Division, missing the early stages of the conflict. On 20 November the same year the regiment came under command of the 8th Cavalry Brigade.[27] While under Barnes' command the regiment fought in the First Battle of Ypres and the Second Battle of Ypres, with Barnes reported wounded in December 1914.[28] He was then, in April 1915, promoted to brigadier-general and given command of the infantry 116th Brigade, part of the 39th Division.[29] His brigade was formed from the 11th, 12th and 13th Battalions, Royal Sussex Regiment and the 14th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment.[30] In 1916 Barnes was invested into the Order of the Bath in June and promoted to temporary major-general in November, giving up command of the brigade.[31] His promotion to substantive major-general came in May 1918;[32] during this time he commanded the 32nd Division, one of Kitchener's new army divisions, and the Territorial Force's 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division.[1]

Post warEdit

In the immediate post war period, Barnes was awarded several honours. In January 1919, he was appointed the Colonel of the Regiment to the 4th Hussars.[33] In June he was given command of the Territorial 55th (West Lancashire) Division,[1][34] and invested as a Knight Commander of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath.[35] He was also twice awarded the French Croix de Guerre.[36]

Away from army life he resided at Oakhay Barton, Stoke Canon in Devon, marrying Gunhilla Wijk, a widow, in 1919. Their son, Second-Lieutenant Reginald Ralph Barnes of the Coldstream Guards, was killed during the Second World War.[1][8][37]

He finally retired from the army in March 1921.[38] He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Devon in August 1927 [39] until his death in 1946. He also became a Justice of the Peace.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Reginald Walter Ralph Barnes". Anglo-Boer War. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  2. ^ "No. 25880". The London Gazette. 4 December 1888. p. 6942.
  3. ^ "No. 25976". The London Gazette. 20 September 1889. p. 5051.
  4. ^ "No. 26119". The London Gazette. 4 December 1890. p. 7310.
  5. ^ "No. 26405". The London Gazette. 23 May 1893. p. 3001.
  6. ^ Russell, Douglas E. (2006). Winston Churchill Soldier. pp. 95 & 100. ISBN 1-84486-032-9.
  7. ^ Stafford, David. "Churchill and Secret Service". New York Times book review. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  8. ^ a b "R W R Barnes". King's College London. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  9. ^ "No. 26751". The London Gazette. 23 June 1896. p. 3642.
  10. ^ "No. 27203". The London Gazette. 19 June 1900. p. 3812.
  11. ^ "No. 27263". The London Gazette. 4 January 1901. p. 83.
  12. ^ "No. 27156". The London Gazette. 23 January 1900. p. 428.
  13. ^ "No. 27306". The London Gazette. 19 April 1901. p. 2701.
  14. ^ "No. 27329". The London Gazette. 2 July 1901. p. 4402.
  15. ^ "No. 27357". The London Gazette. 20 September 1901. p. 6170.
  16. ^ "No. 27454". The London Gazette. 15 July 1902. p. 4511.
  17. ^ "No. 27462". The London Gazette. 8 August 1902. p. 5098.
  18. ^ "The War - officers on passage home". The Times (36718). London. 18 March 1902. p. 11.
  19. ^ "No. 27305". The London Gazette. 16 April 1901. p. 2606.
  20. ^ "No. 27716". The London Gazette. 23 September 1904. p. 6142.
  21. ^ "No. 28087". The London Gazette. 9 December 1907. pp. 86–7.
  22. ^ "No. 28462". The London Gazette. 3 February 1911. p. 856.
  23. ^ "No. 28316". The London Gazette. 10 December 1909. p. 9415.
  24. ^ "No. 28462". The London Gazette. 3 February 1911. p. 857.
  25. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p.385
  26. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p.134
  27. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p.49
  28. ^ "Daily Telegraph" (PDF) (18617). 11 December 1914. p. 12. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  29. ^ "No. 29140". The London Gazette. 23 April 1915. p. 3946.
  30. ^ "39th Division". The Long Long Trail. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  31. ^ "No. 29882". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 December 1916. p. 12644.
  32. ^ "No. 30716". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 May 1918. p. 6455.
  33. ^ "No. 31197". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 February 1919. p. 2676.
  34. ^ "No. 31417". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 June 1919. p. 8014.
  35. ^ "No. 31395". The London Gazette. 6 June 1919. p. 7420.
  36. ^ "No. 13649". The Edinburgh Gazette. 9 November 1920. p. 2403.
  37. ^ "Barnes Reginald Ralph". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  38. ^ "No. 32274". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 March 1921. p. 2546.
  39. ^ "No. 33304". The London Gazette. 19 August 1927. p. 5396.


  • Rinaldi, Richard A (2008). Order of Battle of the British Army 1914. Ravi Rikhye. ISBN 978-0-9776072-8-0.
Military offices
Preceded by
Robert Broadwood
GOC 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division
Succeeded by
Division Disbanded
Preceded by
Sir Hugh Jeudwine
GOC 55th (West Lancashire) Division
Succeeded by
Sir Lothian Nicholson